MLB Rumors: Could Free Agents David Ortiz and Josh Hamilton Swap Teams?

By Michael Terrill

The Boston Red Sox were apparently close to signing a two-year contract with designated hitter David Ortiz until the Texas Rangers caught his attention in free agency. Is it possible that Ortiz and fellow free agent Josh Hamilton could actually swap teams this off-season?

It does not appear likely that Hamilton will return to the Rangers in 2013. In fact, a source inside Texas’ organization had this to say when asked about Hamilton’s return to the team: “Not even if he wants to play here for free next season.” This means the 31-year-old will have several conversations with team executives during the winter meetings to decide which organization best suits him.

Ortiz is another highly sought after free agent this off-season. Many people assumed he would return to Boston, but the recent tension between him and the organization could tell a different story. Ortiz wants to play for a contender and for a team that completely appreciates him. It appears the Rangers are willing to dish out the money for him, especially since he will come a lot cheaper than Hamilton will while still bringing a big bat to the plate.

Of course, there is a downside to signing Ortiz. Fan favorite Mike Napoli would most likely not return next season due to financial implications, while DH Michael Young would have to find a different role with the team. Since Ortiz batted .318 with 23 home runs and 60 runs batted in this past season, I would imagine the Rangers would prefer that to Young’s .277 average, eight homers and 67 RBIs.

I wrote an article a few weeks ago on how I thought the Red Sox would be a perfect fit for Hamilton. Boston got rid of most of their big contracts in a mega-deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers during this past season’s trade deadline. This means the organization is financially capable of shelling out the big bucks to sign Hamilton, even if there is a bidding war. Obviously, the Red Sox will be cautious about spending too much cash considering their previous big money contracts did not work out so well.

However, Hamilton’s numbers have been rather consistent over the past few years, although he did slump towards the end of the season after his red-hot start. The five-year player batted .285 with a career-high 43 home runs, 128 RBIs, and a troublesome 162 strikeouts.

Regardless of the strikeouts, Hamilton will still get a large contract from some team this season and that organization could very likely be the Red Sox. This will probably only happen if Ortiz does indeed leave for greener pastures in Texas, which appears likely to happen.

Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.

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